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All the material on this website is copyrighted to J-P Metsavainio, if not otherwise stated. Any content on this website may not be reproduced without the author’s permission.

Have a visit in my portfolio

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Supernova Remnant Simeis 147, new data added

 I have made a new version of my NASA APOD and National Geographic Image of the Week photo. Simeis 147 is a large and very dim supernova remnant in constellation Taurus.

I combined an old data with a new data, with different optics and camera, together.
As a result I have more details, vivid colors and better overall signal in the new photo. An
older photo is from 2011 and the new photo from 2020. Total exposure time in this new composition is over 45 hours.


Simeis 147 SNR
Click for a large image, 1700 x 1200 pixels

Image is in mapped colors, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen


An Experimental Starless Version

Actual filaments of the supernova remnant can be seen better in this starless version.

A Closeup




Photo in Visual palette


INFO

Simeis 147 (sharpless 240), is a very faint and large supernova remnant in constellation Taurus at distance of ~3000 light years. It's constantly expanding at speed of 1000 km/second but due the size of it, we can't see any movement in it. This SN spans over 160 light years and the apparent scale in the sky is about three degrees (Moon has an apparent size of 30" = 0,5 degrees).  Explosion took place approximately 30.000 years ago  and left behind a  pulsar (Neutron star). The pulsar has recently identified.

How long it'll takes to this supernova remnant to expand 1% large when the diameter is 160 light years and it expands at speed of 1000 km/second.
Answer is ~480 years.
 (1% of diameter 160/100= 16, as kilometers ~151.372.800.000.00, = Y, km,
1000 km/second is ~315.360.000.00, = Z, kilometers/year.
So, X x Z = Y and  X=Z/Y,    X = 480 years with given values)

SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

This artwork belongs to my VISION Series, the image is made out of my original photo of starless Simeis 147 supernova remnant.

Every single element in Vision series photos are from my original astronomical photos. I have been using the Overlapping Lightning Method (Multi Exposure Method) to create my Vision series photographs. By this method the forms and structures in astronomical object get multiplied, they are now forming a new visual dimension beyond our physical universe.



Technical Details


Photo from 2020

Processing workflow
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Color combine in PS CS3
Levels and curves in PS CS3.

Imaging optics

Mount
10-micron 1000

Cameras and filters
Imaging camera Apogee Alta U16 and Apogee seven slot filter wheel
Guider camera, Lodestar x 2 and an old spotting scope of Meade LX200
Astrodon filters,
5nm H-alpha 3nm S-II and 3nm O-III

Total exposure time
H-alpha, 15 x 1200 s, binned 1x1 = 5 h
O-III, 24x 600 s, binned 2x2 = 4 h
S-II, 1 x 12 x 600 s. binned 2x2 = 2 h

Photo from 2011

Processing work flow:
Image acquisition, MaxiDL v5.07.
Stacked and calibrated in CCDStack2.
Deconvolution with a CCDStack2 Positive Constraint, 33 iterations, added at 50% weight
Levels, curves and color combine in PS CS3.

Optics, Canon EF 200mm camera lens at f1.8
Camera, QHY9
Guiding, Meade LX200 GPS 12" and a Lodestar guider
Image Scale, ~5 arcseconds/pixel

Exposures
H-alpha 34x900s, Binned 1x1
H-alpha 14x1800s, Binned 1x1
H-alpha  42x1200s, binned 1x1
Total exposure time for Hydrogen alpha is 26h

O-III & S-II channels are from an older image,  exposure time 8h


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Viral Nebula Rocks

IC1396 converted to 3D animation, very first of its kind
NOW on SuperRare

I turned my photo of IC1396 to a 3d-model at 2012 to show that it’s actually a three-dimensional volume floating in three-dimensional space. This artwork is not just a guess work, it’s based on scientific data about the structure of emission nebulae and real distance information. 

This animation went viral and it was published by several news media and major websites globally at 2012, links after the photos


Location, Constellation Cepheus at distance of about 3000 light years
IC 1396 spans about three degrees of sky (Full Moon has diameter of 0,5 degrees)
I took the photo and made the model at 2012, exposure time 15 hours. 
Time used for the collecting scientific data, 3D-model and animation way too much.


Original photo used for the animation
My original photo of emission nebula IC1396


Rotating Nebula in media

SLATE by Phill Plait 
Best Astronomy Images of 2012: 

DISCOVER MAGAZINE,
Jaw-dropping rotating 3D nebula


SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE by Colin Schultz
Amazing Astrophotography Lets You See Nebulae in 3D

WIRED by Nadia Drake,
New Dimension: Nebulas Are Even More Amazing in 3-D
https://www.wired.com/2013/02/nebulas-in-3-d/

HUFFINGTON POST by Ryan Grenoble,
Nebula IC 1396, Animated In 3D By Finnish Astrophotographer J-P Metsavainio, Is Astounding

PETAPIXEL, Michael Zhang 
Amazing Animated GIFs Capture Nebulae in 3D Using Artificial Parallax
https://petapixel.com/2013/02/20/amazing-animated-gifs-capture-nebulae-in-3d-using-artificial-parallax/

This animation was selected to a Moving the Still exhibition in Miami Art Week 2012


How the 3D-model is made

My Moleskine notebook pages from 2008, I planned how to convert nebulae to 3D


For as long as I have captured images of celestial objects, I have always seen hem three-dimensionally in my head. The scientific information makes my inner visions much more accurate, and the 3-D technique I have developed enables me to share those beautiful visions with others.

How accurate my 3-D-visions are depending on how much information I have and how well I implement it.

The final 3-D-image is always an appraised simulation of reality based on known scientific facts, deduction, and some artistic creativity.

After I have collected all the necessary scientific information about my target, I start my 3-D conversion from stars. Usually there is a recognizable star cluster which is responsible for ionizing the nebula. We don’t need to know its absolute location since we know its relative location. Stars ionizing the nebula have to be very close to the nebula structure itself. I usually divide up the rest of the stars by their apparent brightness, which can then be used as an indicator of their distances, brighter being closer. If true star distances are available, I use them, but most of the time my rule of thumb is sufficient. By using a scientific estimate of the distance of the Milky Way object, I can locate the correct number of stars in front of it and behind it.

Emission nebulae are not lit up directly by starlight; they are usually way too large for that. Rather, stellar radiation ionizes elements within the gas cloud and the nebula itself is glowing light, the principle is very much the same as in fluorescent tubes. The thickness of the nebula can be estimated from its brightness, since the whole volume of gas is glowing, brighter means thicker.

By this means, forms of the nebula can be turned to a real 3-D shape. Nebulae are also more or less transparent, so we can see both sides of it at the same time, and this makes model-making a little easier since not much is hidden.

The local stellar wind, from the star cluster inside the nebula, shapes the nebula by blowing away the gas around the star cluster. The stellar wind usually forms a kind of cavity in the nebulosity. The same stellar wind also initiates the further collapse of the gas cloud and the birth of the second generation of stars in the nebula. The collapsing gas can resist the stellar wind and produces pillar like formations which must point to a cluster.

Ionized oxygen (O-III) glows with a bluish light, and since oxygen needs a lot of energy to ionize it, this can only be achieved relatively close to the star cluster in the nebula. I use this information to position the O-III area (the bluish glow) at the correct distance relative to the heart of the nebula.

Many other small indicators can be found by carefully studying the image itself. For example, if there is a dark nebula in the image, it must be located in front of the emission one, otherwise we couldn’t see it at all.

Using the known data in this way I build a kind of skeleton model of the nebula. Then the artistic part is mixed with the scientific and logical elements, and after that the rest is very much like creating a sculpture on a cosmic scale

3D-model without textures


Monday, September 13, 2021

Beyond the astronomical photography

NOTE. Vision series artworks are soon to be sold as NFT  @SuperRare

 I’m an astrophotographer but first of all I’m a visual artist, as an artist, I’m dazzled by all the forms I’m able to capture in my photos of cosmic objects, nebulae, supernova remnants, galaxies, etc. Colors from ionized elements are connected to the shapes and textures, they form a physical reality around us.

I’m telling a story with my photos, and many times my artworks are also personal notes. The Vision series of photos are forming visual notes about shapes, structures, textures, and colors I have seen and captured during my couple of decades-long journey as an astronomical nature photographer.

Every single element in Vision series photos are from my original astronomical photos. I have been using the Overlapping Lightning Method (Multi Exposure Method) to create my Vision series photographs. By this method the forms and structures in astronomical object get multiplied, they are now forming a new visual dimension beyond our physical universe.

The photographic method I'm using was fashionable back in the 1920s among avant-gardists and surrealistic photographers.  At the time the work was done in a darkroom, I’m using about the same technique but instead of a darkroom, I’m using digital image processing.

The original photo is rotated, moved, and/or mirrored as I like, and then multiple layers stacked back together so that the original brightness is maintained. For this task, I use Photoshop and various astronomical stacking methods and applications.

Few samples of my Vision Series, the original astronomical photo I used to create them at end of the page.

Visions of Veil
Please, click for a large image 












Visions  of Veil series is based on my original photo








Thursday, September 2, 2021

Milky Way, 12 years, 1250 hours of exposures and 125 x 22 degrees of sky THIS IS A PERMANENT POST, NEW POSTS ARE AFTER THIS POST

You can buy prints by using the contact form at right


It took nearly twelve years to collect enough data for this high resolution gigapixel class mosaic image of the Milky Way.  Total exposure time used is around 1250 hours between 2009 and 2021.


" I can hear music in this composition, from the high sounds of sparcs and bubbles at left  all the way to a deep and massive sounds at right."


The final photo is about 100 000 pixels wide, it has 234 individual mosaic panels stitched together and 1,7 gigapixels. (Click for a large image) All the frames used are marked in this image. Since many of sub-images and mosaics are independent artworks it leads to a very complex mosaic structure. 


From Taurus to Cygnus
Click for a large image, it's really worth it! (7000 x 1300 pixels)

Image in mapped colors from the light emitted by an ionized elements, hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. NOTE, the apparent size of the Moon in a lower left corner. NOTE 2, there are two 1:1 scale enlargements from the full size original at both ends of the image

NEW, A HD-video from Germany shows my photo in full glory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Z60eZ4yqM
(Video in Germany but images are the international language)


Close ups form the parts of the Grande Mosaic
Taurus side of the mosaic, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2021/02/a-new-mosaic-image-from-taurus-to.html



A closeup from large panorama to show the overall resolution
Click for a large image

The California Nebula, NGC 1499, can be seen at bottom left of the large mosaic image.
There are about 20 million individual stars visible in the whole mosaic image.



Orientation and details
Click for a large image







Imaging info

Image spans 125 x 22 degrees of  the Milky About 20 million individual stars are visible in my photo!

It took almost twelve years to finalize this mosaic image. The reason for a long time period is naturally the size of the mosaic and the fact, that image is very deep. Another reason is that I have soht most of the mosaic frames as an individual compositions and publish them as independent artworks. That leads to a kind of complex image set witch is partly overlapping with a lots of unimaged areas between and around frames. I have shot the missing data now and then during the years and last year I was able to publish many sub mosaic images as I got them ready first.

My processing workflow is very constant so very little tweaking was needed between the mosaic frames. Total exposure time is over 1250 hours. Some of the frames has more exposure time, than others. There are some extremely dim objects clearly visible in this composition, like a extremely dim supernova remnant W63, the Cygnus Shell. It lays about six degrees up from North America nebula and it can be seen as a pale blue ring. I spent about 100 hours for this SNR alone. An other large and faint supernova remnant in Cygnus can be seen at near right edge of the image. G65.5+5.7 is as large as more famous Veil nebula. There are over 60 exposure hours for this SNR alone.  (Veil SNR is just outside of the mosaic area for compositional reasons but can be seen in "Detail" image above.) 


The Mosaic Work, technical info

I have used several optical configurations for this mosaic image during the years. Up to 2014 I was using an old Meade LX200 GPS 12" scope, QHY9 astrocam, Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics and baader narrowband filter set. After 2014 I have had 10-micron 1000 equatorial mount, Apogee Alta U16 astro camera, Tokina AT-x 200mm f2.8 camera lens and the Astrodon 50mm square narrowband filter set. I have shot many details with a longer focal length, before 2014 by using Meade 12" scope with reducer and after 2014 Celestron EDGE 11" and reducer. Quider camera has been Lodestar and Lodestar II.

I took my current toolset as a base tool since it has a relatively high resolution combined to a very large field of view. Also it collects photons very quickly since it's undersampled and I can have very dim background nebulosity visible in very short time (many times 30 min frame is enough)

I do all my mosaic work under the PhotoShop, Matching the separate panels by using stars as an indicator is kind of straight forward work. My processing has become so constant, that very little tweaking is needed between separate frames, just some minor levels, curves and color balance. 

I have used lots of longer focal length sub-frames in my mosaic to boost details. (See the mosaic map at top of the page) To match them with shorter focal length shots I developed a new method.

Firstly I upscale the short focal length frames about 25% to have more room for high resolution images.Then I match the high res photo to a mosaic by using the stars as an indicator. After that I remove all the tiny stars from the high res image. Next I separate stars from low res photo and merge the starless high res data to a starless low res frame. And finally I place the removed low res stars back at top of everything with zero data lost. Usually there are some optical distortions and it's seen especially in a star field. Now all my stars are coming from a same optical setup and I don't have any problems with distortions. (I'm using the same star removal technique as in my Tone Mapping Workflow)



Closeups from large panorama to show the overall resolution
Click for a large image

Image in mapped colors from the light emitted by an ionized elements, hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. 

A 1:3 resolution close up from the photo above
Click for a large image,

A closeup from the main image shows the Sharpless 124 at up and the Cocoon nebula with a dark gas stream at bottom.

From Bubble to Cave Nebula
Image info, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2020/03/from-bubble-to-cave-nebula-area.html

The tulip nebula area
The Tulip Nebula, Sh2-101, can be seen at center right, there is also a black hole Cygnus X-1
The blog post with technical details can be seen here, 
https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-tulip-nebula-in-cygnus-sh2-101.html

The supernova remnant G65.3+5.7

My Observatory,


Not an igloo, this is reality of astro photographing in Finland


Friday, August 27, 2021

Visions of Veil

 This is an experimental test with a 3D-conversion of my astronomical image. Only real elements from the original image are used, there is nothing added but the estimated volumetric information!

NOTE. This is a personal vision about shapes and volumes, based on some scientific data, deduction and an artistic impression.


NFT of this video is for sale @SuperRare



Visions of Veil




 Original 2D Image, NASA APOD 2015
Click for a large image



How is the volume added to my photos?

Importantly, for as long as I have captured images of celestial objects, I have always seen them in three dimensions in the theatre of my mind. I did develop a unique process to create scientifically accurate 3D volumetric images of 'my' nebulas. The final 3D volumetric image is always an appraised simulation of reality based on known scientific data, deduction, and some artistic creativity.

After I have collected all the necessary scientific information about my target, I start my 3-D conversion using the stars in the image. Usually there is a recognizable star cluster which is responsible for ionizing the nebula. We don’t need to know its absolute location since we know its relative location. Stars ionizing the nebula have to be very close to the nebula structure itself. I usually divide up the rest of the stars by their apparent brightness, which can then be used as an indicator of their distances, brighter being closer. If true star distances are available, I use them, but most of the time my rule of thumb is sufficient. By using a scientific estimate of the distance of the Milky Way object, I can then locate the correct number of stars in front of it and behind it.

Emission nebulae are not lit up directly by starlight; they are usually way too large for that. Rather, stellar radiation ionizes elements within the gas cloud. So, it’s the nebula itself that is glowing. (The principle is very much the same as in fluorescent tubes.) The thickness of the nebula can be estimated from its brightness, since the whole volume of gas is glowing, brighter means thicker. Nebulae are also more or less transparent, so we can see both sides of it at the same time, and this makes model-making a little easier since not much is hidden.

The local stellar wind, from the star cluster inside the nebula, shapes the nebula by blowing away the gas around the star cluster. The stellar wind usually forms a kind of cavity in the nebulosity. The collapsing gas can resist the stellar wind and produces pillar like formations which must point to a cluster.

Oxygen needs a lot energy to ionize it, this can only be achieved relatively close to the star cluster in the nebula. I use this information to position the O-III area (the bluish glow) at the correct distance relative to the heart of the nebula.

Many other small indicators can be found by carefully studying the image itself. For example, if there is a dark nebula in the image, it must be located in front of the emission nebula, otherwise we can’t see it.

Explosions in space are more or less symmetrical, due to that, most of the supernova remnants and planetary nebulae mainly has a ball like appearance.

Using the known data in this way I build a kind of skeleton model of the nebula. Then the artistic part is mixed with the scientific and logical elements, and after that the rest is very much like creating a sculpture on a cosmic scale.




Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A starless Pickering's Triange

 As far as I know, I was the first who published starless nebula images back in 2007. At the time  the feedback was less than positive.

The reason to publish such a unorthodox images was that the starless version is a part of my processing workflow and it can sometimes show more than the actual image.
I have used this technique ever since and published some starless images now and then. 

Starless images are very powerful, when I want to dig out some really dim objects in a very dense starfield. It makes processing so much easier, I don't need to be careful not to blow up the stars.
Normally all the stars are placed back with a zero data lost after processing is done.

Starless images are also a great help to see the actual structure in the nebula since human brains has a tendency to form a quasi logical shapes out of the random cloud of dots, like stars are. 

A Starless Pickering's Triangle
Please, click for a large image, it's worth it!
 
Part of  Veil Nebula supernova remnant, the Pickering's Triangle.Colors are from the ionized elements, Hydrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen. S-II = Red, H-alpha = Green and O-III = Blue.  This is one of the most detailed image of the Pickering's Triangle I have ever seen.



A wide field photo of the Veil Nebula supernova remnant

The Pickering's Triangle can be see at one o'clock position.
My blog post about the wide field shot can be seen HERE.


Monday, August 9, 2021

Pickering's Triangle reprocessed with some new data

 I originally shot this image at September 2015 and it was selected as a NASA APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) at same month.


After the 2015 I have learned a lot and also shot lots of new data. The data I have shot is taken with much shorter focal length than original data but it was much deeper. I connected some dim background and color data from wide field image to this new version of Pickering's Triangle by using my new yet unpublished imaging method the VARES (variable Resolution imaging)
I kind of like the result, colors are more vivid and background has deeper shades.

Pickering's Triangle
Please, click for a large image, it's worth it!

Part of the two frame mosaic of the Veil Nebula supernova remnant, the Pickering's Triangle.
Colors are from the ionized elements, Hydrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen. 
S-II = Red, H-alpha = Green and O-III = Blue. 

A wide field photo of the Veil Nebula supernova remnant

The Pickering's Triangle can be see at one o'clock position.
My blog post about the wide field shot can be seen HERE.

Technical details and more images:
https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2015/09/pickerings-triangle-my-first-light-for.html

Sunday, August 1, 2021

A new photo, Monkey Head Nebula, Lower's nebula, Jelly Fish nebula and Messier 35

 I shot material for this mosaic image at end of the spring season 2021. I haven't got time to finalize it until now. I kind of like this image, it's very deep and shows the very dim background mist and a very dense starfield of the galaxy plane. Total exposure time with Tokina AT-x 300mm f2,8 camera lens, Apogee u16 Astro camera and Astrodon narrowband filters is around 6 hours, the exposure time with Celestron Edge telescope is around 30 hours.

An other interesting feature in this imaging project is that I did use my VARES-processing method to this.
(Variable Resolution imaging) I have shot the nebulae in this wide field image with a long focal length instrument, the Celestron Edge 11" few years ago. I use this high res material to boost details in the wide field image. But that's not all!

I used the VARES technique to add deepness to my older long focal length images. I added the very dim background nebula data from wide filled images to long focal length images. The result was very good. Now all detailed features in the image, like stars, brighter nebula details and dark nebulae are form high res image data. The dim and relatively featureless data is taken from the wide field image. At the end the both datasets are combined by VARES-processing method to a one very deep and detailed image.


Monkey Head nebula. Messier 35 and the Jellyfish Nebula
Click for a large image!


Mapped colors from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulfur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen.


Wider mosaic, from Lower's Nebula to Jellyfish Nebula
Click for a large image! (2500 x 1100 pixels)

This mosaic image has 12 frames stitched together.


Labeled
Click for a large image!



Long focal length images boosted with a very deep wide field data.


Monkey Head nebula, NGC 2175
Click for a large image

The wide field data boosted long focal length image, original photo and details can be seen here, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2015/03/ngc-2174-monkey-head-nebula-project.html
I think, this was a first image in the World showing the extremely dim lower part, "Teil of the Monkey", of the nebula.



Lower's Nebula, Sh2-261
Click for a large image

The wide field data boosted long focal length image, original photo and details can be seen here, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2021/01/lowers-nebula.html


Jellyfish Nebula, the supernova remnant IC433
Click for a large image


The wide field data boosted long focal length image, original photo and details can be seen here, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2015/01/jellyfish-nebula-ic-443-supernova.html




Monday, July 19, 2021

Voices of Apollo 11

@FORBES

"The Ultimate Tribute To The Fallen Heroes Who Took Us To Moon"

"Metsavainio has created a ‘voices of Apollo 11’ artistic masterpiece to immortalize the mission and its target forever."


The Voices of Apollo 11

 are now part of the Moon forever

Click for the larger version of 2500 x 2500 pixels.

Image shows the full Moon made entirely out the text of the transcript of the onboard voice conversations of the Apollo 11 mission. There is nothing else in this photo-based image. Just letters. 

A close up of the top of the artwork shows just letters from the authentic voice transcription of Apollo 11 Command Module recorder data.


The Voices

I downloaded NASA's original full transcript of Apollo 11's onboard voice conversations. The idea was to turn this text into an image of the Moon. After a few weeks of intense work at a feverish pace my tribute was ready. Now the Moon is made up entirely of Apollo 11 voice transcription letters. 

This is also a tribute to the entire Apollo 11 team: Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot 
Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.

WHY?

I was most gratified and deeply moved when Michael Collins —the Apollo 11 & Gemini 10 astronaut, author, explorer and artist— tweeted following kind words about my work on April 19th, 2021: https://twitter.com/AstroMCollins/status/1384194949009211393  

The news of his passing, just nine days later, hit me all the harder — a very emotional moment for me. Out of the blue, I got inspired to create this artwork. I absolutely had to do it right away, which I did. 

Michael Collins was affectionately referred to as “the loneliest man in history” for being the command module pilot who flew solo in space behind the Moon and without radio contact with anyone while his colleagues, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, set foot on the Moon for the first time in history. Michael was also an artist. His iconic photos made from Moon orbit are true art and part of mankind's greatest cultural heritage treasure.

A similar solitude gripped me while I was creating this tribute image. For being an astronomical photographer and a visual artist often is a very lonely job. Especially this time as I was deeply emotional throughout my creative process for this artwork. Even though I never met him personally, the end of his Earthly mission meant more to me than I was prepared for. I needed to make this photo-based artwork to process the inner storm of my thoughts and feelings.


The Landing Site

The Apollo 11 landing site is marked by two red letters.


4K VIDEO

1-minute 4K video about the "Voices of Apollo 11" artwork. Please watch in full screen for the best viewing experience.
The music "Fly me to the Moon"

Frank Sinatra's 1964 recording of "Fly Me to the Moon" became closely associated with NASA's Apollo space program. A copy of the song was played on a Sony TC-50 portable cassette player on the Apollo 10 mission which orbited the Moon,[44] and also on Apollo 11 before the first landing on the Moon.[45] Source Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_Me_to_the_Moon




Material used for the artwork


Apollo 11 onboard voice transcription



Click to download the PDF-document, 5.5 MB


My photo of a Full Moon
Click for a larger image.

I used my twenty-year-old photo of the Full Moon to create this text based artwork.









Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Photo number 8, The Chinese Dragon



Chinese Dragon, 
This is the only image in the World showing the constellation Cygnus so deep and detailed

Image is reduced to size of 2600 x 4200 pixels from the original 25.000 x 15.000 pixels. Click for a large image, it's worth it! Mosaic image was shot between September 2010 and December 2020


Click for a large image, area of interest ids marked as white rectangle


The Dragon, 4K-MOVIE
Duration ~one minute



About this photo

This photo means a lot to me personally. Not only due to large amount of work and time I spent with this area of sky, it also has a deeper meaning for me.

When you spent a decade working with a one photo to get it ready, it's like a long marriage. The passionate love is slowly turning to a deeper connection and at the end you'll grow together and can't live without the others company. As in marriage, during the years I have had friction in the relationship, even hate. But after desperate times the love always wins.

I'm a perfectionist, when dealing with my photography. This feature is essential  for a great results but it also can cause problems in relationship. There have been times when I almost get a divorce and started looking for another, easier target since I couldn't get out all of the extreme dim and difficult details I wanted to see and show. I didn't even know, if they are there since there wasn't any references to compare. I didn't give up and finally after long nights and hundreds of exposure hours I get what I was after. Now we can grow old together and I know for sure, I will always find something new and existing from my love one, the Chinese Dragon..

Total exposure time is way over 600 hours, they are shot between 2010 and 2020. Some areas of this mosaic panorama required more exposure time than others. There are two very diffused supernova remnants in this mosaic. Both are large and extremely dim. I have used about 170 hours of exposures for them alone! There aren't any deep and large enough photos around showing them well. 

I have started this imaging project back at 2010. My aim was to make a high resolution mosaic covering the whole constellation Cygnus. Work like that takes time and patience, especially since I have worked so, that many of the individual sub mosaics or frames can be published as an individual artworks. Here is a poster format presentation about all of the longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside longer focal length panels.

(3300 x 5500 pixels)

A location for each photo is marked at the older version of the mosaic image of the constellation Cygnus at center.


As a result I have now a huge 95 panel mosaic panorama covering 28 x 18 degrees of sky.  I have collected photons way over 600 hours during past ten years for this photo. The full size mosaic image has a size of about 25.000 x 15.000 pixels.

Two + one supernova remnants, two Wolf Rayet stars and a black hole

There are two large supernova remnants visible in this photo, first the Cygnus Shell W63 , bluish ring at upper left quarter, secondly the large SNR G65.3+5.7 at utmost right.
Just outside of the field of view lays the famous Veil Nebula SNR 
at bottom middle.

Beside two supernova remnants there are two Wolf Rayet stars with outer shell formations. NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula at center of the image and the WR 134, it can be seen as a blue arch just right from the Crescent Nebula, near the Tulip nebula.

Next to the Tulip Nebula lays a Black hole Cygnus X-1.

Constellation Cygnus is an endless source of celestial wonders, both scientifically and aesthetically. For me, as an visual artist, this area of night sky is very inspiring There are endless amount of  amazing shapes and structures, I can spend rest of my life just shooting images from this treasury.

Please, click the image for full resolution


Note. The third supernova remnant is marked at this image, it's just outside of the actual field of view. I left it out on purpose due to compositional reasons.


Technical details

Original resolution in pixels, 25.000 x 15.000

The NASA astronomer wrote about this image:

In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Composed over a decade with 400 hours of image data, the broad mosaic spans an impressive 28x18 degrees across the sky. Alpha star of Cygnus, bright, hot, supergiant Deneb lies at the left. Crowded with stars and luminous gas clouds Cygnus is also home to the dark, obscuring Northern Coal Sack Nebula and the star forming emission regions NGC 7000, the North America Nebula and IC 5070, the Pelican Nebula, just left and a little below Deneb. Many other nebulae and star clusters are identifiable throughout the cosmic scene. Of course, Deneb itself is also known to northern hemisphere skygazers for its place in two asterisms, marking a vertex of the Summer Triangle, the top of the Northern Cross.

This is a large area of sky! (28 x 18 degrees) The mosaic photo is in mapped colours, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. Image has over five million stars visible in it. 

I have used several optical configurations for this mosaic image during the years. Up to 2014 I was using an old Meade LX200 GPS 12" scope, QHY9 astrocam, Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics and baader narrowband filter set.
After 2014 I have had 10-micron 1000 equatorial mount, Apogee Alta U16 astro camera, Tokina AT-x 200mm f2.8 camera lens and the Astrodon 50mm square narrowband filter set. 
I have shot many details with a longer focal length, before 2014 by using Meade 12" scope with reducer and after 2014 Celestron EDGE 11" and reducer. Quider camera has been Lodestar and Lodestar II.


A  version of this photo was selected as an Astronomical Picture Of the Day by NASA


Mosaic panels in chronological order

Here is an image about individual panels shot for this large mosaic image.
There are 37 base panels with shorter focal length tools (200mm f2.8 Tokina and 200mm f1.8 Canon) There is also 59 sub-panels used, they are shot with my old 12" Meade and 11" Celestron Edge scopes.
Here is a poster format presentation and a list all of longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside the actual panels, https://astroanarchy.blogspot.com/2018/11/treasures-of-swan.html


Evolution of the mosaic between 2010 and 2020
Click for a large image


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